Aljamain Sterling recalled a time when he sparred with Zabit Magomedsharipov and was almost counting sheep.
Sterling is a top-ranked UFC bantamweight. The “Funk Master” is riding a four-fight winning streak. In that span, he’s beaten Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera, Cody Stamann, and Brett Johns. He could very well be just one win away from a UFC bantamweight title shot. While Sterling was on the path to cementing his status in the 135-pound division, Magomedsharipov entered the gym.
Aljamain Sterling Had His Clock Cleaned By Zabit
Back in early 2017, Sterling wasn’t aware of who Zabit was. Fast forward to 2020 and Zabit is considered to be the hottest featherweight prospect who is getting close to title contention. Sterling told James Lynch of theScore MMA that he was in for quite the surprise when he first sparred with Zabit (h/t BJPenn.com).
“I never knew who he was; the guy is a f*cking ninja,” Sterling said. “He comes out throwing all these side kicks, these hook kicks, then the second round he throws a 360 round kick. I closed my eyes and ducked my head, and he kicks me, wraps around the back of my head. I didn’t go out, but I was definitely f*cked up. I didn’t see the kicking coming, and it landed flush on the back of my neck. I’ve got it on video, it’s pretty nasty. Hopefully, Mark Henry leaves that in the archives.”
Sterling is scheduled to meet Cory Sandhagen on the main card of UFC 250 this Saturday night (June 6). This bout could determine the number one contender for the UFC bantamweight championship if the promotion goes through with plans to book Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo for the vacant title. Sterling vs. Sandhagen will take place inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC 250 event will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer.